Dumbarton House

2715 Q Street, NW, Washington, DC 20007 - United States





Please bring your printed out Museum Day ticket for admission!

Dumbarton House stood witness to the birth of the American Republic as the government settled into the newly established built in 1799 on the heights of Georgetown, Dumbarton House was home of the first Register of the U. S. Treasury, Joseph Nourse, who resided here with his family and servants - free, indentured, and enslaved - from 1804-1813. Dumbarton House's period rooms and rotating exhibitions tell the stories of the early city of Washington and offers visitors a view of what life was like in the earliest days of our nation's capital.

In 1928, the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America (NSCDA) purchased the property as its national headquarters and opened the museum to the public four years later. As the headquarters of the NSCDA, Dumbarton House shares the stories of women in preservation. The NSCDA, through its Corporate Societies, owns, maintains, or supports over 80 historic sites and collections around the country.


Visitors to Dumbarton House return in time to when Joseph Nourse, first Register of the U.S. Treasury, and his wife Maria, made their home here, between 1804 and 1813. The first floor of the home is decorated and furnished to reflect their tastes, and the early history of Washington and Georgetown. In addition to our first floor period rooms, our second floor galleries include special exhibits around the history of D.C. and the NSCDA.

Pick Your Poison
This exhibit explores the history of drinking in the Federal Period. Did you know that in the year 1800, the average American over the age of fifteen consumed thirty-two gallons of hard cider and beer, seven gallons of distilled spirits, and one gallon of wine? With sections on wine, beer, cider, tea, chocolate, punch, and hard liquor, you will learn about the full spectrum of drinks in the capitol city 200 years ago!

STEM in the Historic House
This exhibit provides visitors with examples of how science, technology, engineering, and math help us gain a deeper understanding of our past. For instance, STEM is involved in examining historic building plans, producing historic wallpaper, and conducing microscopic paint analysis and painting restoration.

The Exchange 2020|1
- brand new! -
This exhibit on "Industrious Women" examines the roles that the women who have lived and worked at Dumbarton House have had over its 200+ year history. Opening just a few days before Museum Day, stop by to be some of the first people to see this new exhibit!

History’s Keepers: The Legacy of the NSCDA
This exhibit highlights the work of the NSCDA. Since 1891, The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America (NSCDA) has worked to inspire a spirit of patriotism and a genuine love of country by creating widespread interest in the stories of our nation’s founding and development. The legacy of the NSCDA is continued in the work of its 15,000+ members, placing it among the national leaders in preservation of historic sites, buildings, gardens, art, and artifacts. Today, Corporate Societies in 43 states and D.C., made up of 15,000+ women descended from leaders in colonial America, work together Entrusted with History’s Future.

Participation in Museum Day is open to any tax-exempt or governmental museum or cultural venue on a voluntary basis. Smithsonian magazine encourages museum visitation, but is not responsible for and does not endorse the content of the participating museums and cultural venues, and does not subsidize museums that participate.